If you were a bad guy in Great Bend Monday, you may have had a very bad day.
Local, county and state law enforcement officers held the city’s first-ever warrant sweep. Their goal was to clear up as many of the 120-some outstanding warrants as they could.
As of late Monday afternoon, they had made 15 arrests. “That’s a pretty good result,” said Great Bend Police Sgt. Jay Bachar.
The day began early with an 8 a.m. briefing in a conference room at the Great Bend Convention Center. Gathered were Great Bend police officers, Barton County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents, Kansas State Parole Board representatives and someone from the Ellinwood Police Department.
“Welcome to Warrant Sweep 2015,” Bachar said. Bachar led the meeting, referring to a map of the city projected onto the wall with the department’s four patrol zones, or beats.
“If we don’t find that particular person, go ahead and check the warrants and wants on everyone we come in contact with,” Bachar said. They may find some other low life wanted by authorities.
Local officers were paired with outside personnel. Each team was handed a booklet with the warrants from their target beat.
“Happy hunting,” Bachar said. The officers then loaded into GBPD black and whites, and fanned out into the community.
City Administrator Howard Partington said there were two K-9 units involved as well. In addition, the Barton County Jail had extra jailers available, Barton County Communications had additional dispatchers on hand and the county attorney was notified should search warrants be needed.
The sweep comes in week seven of an eight week campaign by close the cases, a campaign which was Bachar’s brain child, Partington said. The idea was to start small with just Great Bend and perhaps expand the effort to include other jurisdictions.
Including the arrests made Monday, this initiative has resulted in over 40 arrests on assorted charges, including narcotics.
Monday’s action showed cooperation was not a problem. Each of the agencies involved had an interest in serving the warrants and this was an opportunity to practice inter-agency communication, Bachar said.
Another benefit was increased espirt de corps within the GBPD, Partington said. Officers have really started to come together in recent months.
“We want this to be the police department to work for,” Partington said.
The City Council has made crime and drug reduction a top priority and the sweep was a visible manifestation of that. “We want to get the word out that bad guys are not welcome.”
It was also new Great Bend Police Chief Cliff Couch’s first day on the job and he hit the ground running. “They have a busy day planned for me,” he said.
Couch is no stranger to task force work. During his stint in Florida, he worked both as a narcotics detective and in a violent crimes unit.